Letter to Women

Review of
"Women of the Gospels. Meeting the Women who Followed Jesus "

by Mary Ellen Ashcroft,
The Bible Reading Fellowship Oxford.1997, 2004 .

The scene of Ashcroft’s booklet is laid in Bethany, at the home of Martha and her sister Mary. After the crucifixion the women that were present at Jesus’ death spend Easter Saturday in this place, where Jesus used to visit. Among them the author puts some women whose stories were a one-off, but who all had had life changing encounters with him. Naturally, sitting there they look back on their experiences and share what spiritual insights each has gained, especially in the last disturbing week.

The woman that suffered 12 years of haemorrhaging relives the contempt and the resulting abject treatment. The woman that had been bent over for 18 years, who had suffered likewise. Mary Magdalen with her very special story, Mary, Jesus’ mother and Martha, who confesses that she regretted the time she once wasted cooking this and that, while she could have been sitting with Jesus. We learn from her that we may not have all the time in he world to do what is really important.

The book has been devised to make contemporary women use all these meditations to discover what they themselves have learnt from reading the gospel stories but also from living their own lives. It was when I was invited to be in a Bible group where women and men, too, studied these chapters that I came to see that it worked.

I can wholeheartedly recommend the booklet.

Theresia Saers

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